There were two big takeaways from the Emporio Armani show this morning: ruffles and the color red. Neither of them being particularly identified with Armani, this meant that the collection had moments as bemusing as its title, Crossing Colors. It wasn’t just the red. There were also lilacs and maroons and funny vintage tones that loaned themselves to droopy jackets that were also vintage in feel. The angled pocket flaps on some of them had a slight crimp that compounded the impression of another time. The ’40s, perhaps—that era when Armani the boy hid in movie theaters to escape the turmoil of the warring world outside.

And now Armani the man is looking at his 40th anniversary in fashion. He’s spent a few of those years defining a sportily urban personality for Emporio Armani, which has been the foundation of a huge business. But Armani has never been one to coast. If the collection he showed today was an oddity, it was essentially what we’ve come to expect from him at this stage of his career. Sometimes his stretches work, sometimes they don’t. So today’s vintage thing was matched by an odd Mitteleuropa mash-up. There was a folkloric tinge to the floral appliqués on gray wool skirts, or a long quilted red coat, or a puff-sleeved dress that felt like a little girl’s look writ adult. The low-slung, wide-cut trousers had a Petrouchka feel. An artisanal knit subtext peaked with a couple of jumbo mohair sweaterdresses. Cozy, yes, but only Little Lotta could do them full justice. Washed-out ikats were another theme. This was one indulgence that actually looked good, especially in a velvet pantsuit (and you don’t have to be Corky St. Clair to love a velvet pantsuit).

The ruffles were belts and cross-body bag straps and necklaces and a dozen other details. To their credit, they weren’t frilly. Maybe that’s because the essence of the collection was not that way inclined. There were quite a few barbaric fur details, and the models were uniformly kitted out in tousled, wet black wigs. They must have represented a specific someone in Armani’s mind. But that’s a question for next time.

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